Seattle to Portland 2006

July 15 and 16, 2006

StP. Seattle, WA to Portland, OR in two days, 200 Miles via bicycles.

Total Trip Time: 14 hours, 24 minutes, 5 seconds on the bike
Moving Average Speed: 14.2mph
Gu Gels: 10
Power Bars: 4
Cliff Bars: 4
Bagels: 4
Litres of Water: 12
Flat Tires: None!
Bee Stings: 1
Bananas: 5
Also Consumed: Gatorade, Accelerade, Pasta, No-Doz, Grapes, Ice Cream, French Toast, Coffee, Pancakes, Eggs, Orange Juice, Chocolate Milk, Pseudophedrine, and Imodium AD.

Friday Night:
Matt met me at the PDX Max station with his bike. We then hopped on the MAX and got off at Gateway TC to get picked up by Kris and Angie.

By 6pm or so we were on the road, heading to Seattle.

After a dinner stop in the half-way point, Centralia, we arrived in Kent just south of Seattle to sleep the night.

Lee and Elizabeth then joined us just shortly after 11pm.


Saturday:

Started at 6:45am
Finished at 5:00pm?

Quite early into the ride, Matt’s rear wheel broke a spoke. Luckily, he had a spare, which we quickly changed out. There was a bicycle repair truck at the pit-stop that we had just passed so we turned around and headed back. Matt was able to get some new spokes as extras then we were off again.

Just before our first major rest stop we saw a fire truck blocking part of the road and railroad tracks. As we rode around it, we were flagged by several volunteers to be EXTREMELY careful crossing the tracks since the surrounding concrete was breaking apart and had just caused someone to wipe-out. I saw him on the side of the road with a bloody face, oxygen mask and a bunch of paramedics cradling his head and tending his wounds. Ouch.

It was a lot of nice riding throughout the day. We got to see some great terrain, wonderful people and just had a generally nice time. It was great being able to ride with friends rather than alone the entire time.Too Busy Eating

Not even half-way through the day’s ride, we were crusing along in a pace-line with me up front when I was stung in the right bicep by a bee! Ouch! I must have hit it at 20mph. I was kind of freaked out since I don’t think I’ve ever been stung before, but I didn’t have any allergic reactions to it so we continued on our way.

We also some some notable riders like the guy on the unicycle!

Also, there was a rider on a Big Wheel, a scooter, a bmx bike, and someone said they spotted someone on a skateboard.
It’sa Ferrari!

Ferrari!
Then we met up with Kris, Angie, and Elizabeth at the halfway point in Centralia.
It was a good day.

Sunday:
Started at 6:15am
Finished at 4:00pm

Lee called at 4:45am to pull out of the ride due to pinched nerves in his wrists. He had been having problems the previous day with numb fingers and toes. I was sad to not have him there on day two, but we had to keep going.

Matt and I booked it at a pretty good pace the entire day with no mechanical or medical problems.

We had stopped a few times to refill on water, use the restroom and have some eats. The longest stop we had was about 30 minutes.

At this stop, we had to put on sunscreen and admire the “World’s Largest Egg” that was made of plaster.
World's Largest Egg...right...Matt and I periodically ride no-handed to get the pressure off our wrists, eat something while riding, or just to be goofy.

I'm the King of the World!
Actually, we were just hamming it up for the camera.

Look Ma! No Hands!
To cross the Columbia River from Washington to Oregon, we had to cross the Long View Bridge. This was a massive undertaking since it is only a two lane bride that sees a lot of large trucks go over it and almost no sidewalk for pedestrians. This was solved by the Gold Wing Motorcycle Club! They would queue up several hundred cyclists at a time then every 10-15 minutes would block traffic and escort us across the bridge. When we started on our way up, we were behind a tandem bicycle that had some speakers on the back and an iPod playing the theme from “Rocky”. That was one of heck of a motivator.Over the Bridge!
Safely across the river, we picked up the pace a bit and just cruised through Rainier, St. Helens and Scappose with only very short watering breaks.

We even stopped in Scappoose for a Dairy Queen ice cream cone! Wow, did that ever taste good after eating powerbars, cliff bars and gels all day long. Mmmm…chocolate.

We were doing so well, we even skipped the last supported rest stop in favor of maintaining speed and finishing before 5pm.

4pm was our finishing time. Hot damn.

Holladay park is where we pulled into the rather large festival finish line. The girls met us there along with Lee! I was so glad to see them! But, after walking around the festival for a few minutes and checking out the vendors, Matt and I were beat and we headed off to the car to take us home.

I was actually feeling so good after the ride, I started considering next year’s ride. Maybe do it ALL in one day, then take a car back to the halfway point and ride the second half with Matt on Sunday. Maybe.

My most sincere thanks to Matt for all the memorable pictures. Untold gratitude to the girls for being our transportation and support crew, and my sympathy to Lee’s injuries.

Next year Lee!

Now, I’ve got to get some extra sleep…got more riding to do this weekend!

-Tomas Q.

Miles and Pirates

Saturday, July 8

I rode my road bike to downtown Portland REI to pickup my packet for the Seattle to Portland (StP) ride. It contained a Tyvek windbreaker with the ride’s logos and sponsors, a couple doses of “SportLegs“, a reflective wristband, number plate and sticker, a sample of “ButtR” and maps of the route we’ll be riding.

Not So Comfy!I then rode up to Sauvie Island again to ride a few laps and put the mileage on my legs as well as give a final verdict on a new saddle from Specialized to see if it would aleviate any perenium discomfort I sometimes get with my WTB Speed V saddle. Verdict: Specialized makes some HARD saddles. I returned it the next day.

I was able to ride 65 miles to and from Sauvie Island. I would have done a lot more but the dogwood was in full bloom so all these balls of fluff were floating all around getting in my mouth and nose at every chance they had. I got a bit itchy. Bitchy.
Comfy!
With annoyed sinuses, a sore bum and back, I called it a short day. I just didn’t have the fortitude or legs to keep going that day.

When I got home and took a shower, I noticed my eyes were beat red and my nose was running like crazy. Great time for an allergy attack! I took some psuedophedrine, napped and woke up feeling no better than when I went down. Hopefully, the next day would be better.

Sunday, July 9

Pirates 2 day! I planned on seeing Pirates of the Carribean 2 with Lee and Elizabeth, but I really wanted to get some miles in to see how I felt. Also, this would be a good time to re-dial in my WTB saddle and return the butt-killer to River City Bicycles.

After the bike shop, I made some pretty good time getting up to the airport side and working my way down again. I didn’t time myself, but I did a lot of sprinting and kept up an overall good pace. I was able to get 25 miles on me on one waterbottle of Gatorade.

I quickly downed 16oz of water with a dose of “Endurox r4”. Tasty. It seemed to do me well for recovery. I didn’t feel tired or sore later that day.

I met up with Lee and Elizabeth at the theatre for a 3:50 showing, but it was sold out so we had to get into a 4:40pm showing that was ALREADY lining up at the door. Crap. Of course, this led us to get REALLY CRAPPY seating. Ugh. On top of it, there was a 4 year-old sitting to the right of me that kept talking and saying she was bored of the movie. Why-oh-why didn’t her parents take her home?!

Regardless, I enjoyed the movie. I may see it again in the next couple of weeks since I missed a few talky bits due to the small girl, but if I don’t have time, oh well.

I won’t go into reviewing the movie, you’ll just have to read one somewhere else.

-Tomas

Weekend Riding Sans Pain

I think I have my road bike pretty well dialed-in. By this, I mean that I have the saddle in a position that fits my legs quite well, a saddle that fits my butt, and the whole thing just fits me well.

Saturday, July 1. I left my place at 10:30am for a ride of undetermined length. I went through downtown Portland, up to Sauvie Island, checked out the beach for a few minutes, then back to downtown, up to Marine Drive to parallel the length of the airport, then down the 205 path to Milwaukie for a BBQ at Matt and Kris’s place.

85 miles in 7 hours.

Sunday, July 2. In preparation for the Seattle to Portland ride on July 15 and 16, Matt, Lee, and I left from my apartment for a 100 mile training ride. We left at 9:45am after doing some tweaking to Matt’s bike, as well as a bit of tweaking to Lee’s.

We rode through downtown, out to Beaverton, up to Hillsboro, through Forest Grove and turned around at Gaston. We made a stop for water at a friend’s house for about 30 minutes, had a bite at Burgerville and basically came back the way we came.

Lee and I broke off from Matt along the Springwater Trail so that he could ride home. We then rode back up to my apartment to complete our goal of 100 miles for the day. We had a few too many stops due to food, dehydration, resupplying, shopping and socializing.

100 miles in 12 hours.

After two full days of riding, I have to say I’ve had no real pain. Usually something is KILLING me after this many hours on the saddle. Sore bum, chafing, wrist pain, lower-back pain, or dehydration headache. But somehow, none of these things were a bother. I was just REALLY tired.

Monday was a rest day. No soreness at all. But general fatigue really set in and made it difficult to not feel sleepy. NO SORENESS IS GOOD.

I guess the additional protein via powered shakes are helping my training. No weight gain yet, but I am seeing a lot more muscle definition. Now I plan on trying “Endurox r4” as a recovery drink to help recoup glycogen for energy and protein then use the shakes as additional protein for muscle rebuilding.

More riding this weekend!

-Tomas

MRT Campout 2006

McKenzie River – June 23, 2006

Camping and Mountain Bike Ride with P.U.M.P.

As I’ve written about in previous posts, I’ve really been getting into mountain biking as a way to do something a bit different than road biking the long distances. Well, this past weekend was PUMP’s first summer campout.

We camped out at “Paradise Campground” which is just West of a town called “Sisters” in Central Oregon. It was somewhat cushy since it had paved parking for each site, a fire pit and picnic table, running water every few sites and flushing toilets. On the rustic, it didn’t have any electricity or showers anywhere on the site. Since it was in a densely wooded area, night was pitch black.

I arrived to the site at 10:30pm on Friday night after driving for almost 4 hours in a mix of some rush-hour traffic and regular traffic. I was also delayed by several stops to check the map to make sure I was heading Eastward enough miles to get to the camp. It ended up being MUCH further than I had anticipated. Really wish I could have car-pooled with someone.

Being dark upon my arrival, I had a heck of a time finding a site. Luckily, I recognized someone that was up and about and asked if I could squeeze into their site for the night. I parked next to their two cars and found some trees that were properly spaced for my hammock.

I’ve only had my new Hennessy Hammock for a few days and had only set it up once in Mt. Tabor park to see how it would go together. So, putting it up in “the wild” with just a headlamp and over some pretty rough ground made it quite interesting. After about 20 minutes of fiddling with the ropes, finding twigs to use as stakes for the rain fly, I was in bed and fast asleep.

Wow, sleeping in the hammock was one of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had at a camp site. I’m an extremely light sleeper and wake up with the slightest noise or discomfort, but I found myself quite rested the next morning.

I got up around 7am and used my small Trangia stove to heat up some water to make oatmeal and hot chocolate. The little denatured alcohol stove with the titanium pots worked great! I had a nice breakfast, talked to my two temporary camp-mates about the days planned rides. I then walked around and talked to find out what the other PUMP riders were up to and decide which group I was going join for the day.

One group left around 7:30am to ride the “Full Out and Back” of the trail which meant 54 miles of some really mixed technical trail. That was a bit much. I didn’t want to shuttle up to the top of the trail and only ride 27 miles back to camp, so I joined the “Easy Group” and did a “Modified Out and Back” with some beginner riders in the group.

We left at 9am and made some good pace time getting up the trail that was just beautiful. It seemed well maintained, dry but not too dusty nor was it too hard-packed from all the bicycle and foot traffic.

After about 8 miles, the beginners turned around and myself and a few other riders continued for another 8 miles to ride up the “lava flows”.

The Lava Flows.

The section of trail that we road had a high amount of old lava rock for about 2 miles or so. Rock that is very jagged, sharp, and full of technical riding. One of the fellows that I was tailing would normally go faster than me, but on the technical stuff, I really plowed through and made it to the Blue Pool without a single spill. He had to bail a few times and made it to the Blue Pool with a few scratches on his leg. Sorry Don!

The Blue Pool.

I’ll have to find a picture of the Blue Pool somewhere, but basically it is a small pond that has some very clear but very blue looking water. Nobody in the group seemed to know anything about it, but it was really cool looking. Too bad we were on a 30-foot cliff above water, otherwise I would have gone for a dip.

After a 15 minute break, we hopped on our bikes and started working our way back to camp. About halfway up the ride, I had deflated my tires to a very low pressure so I would have excellent traction on the rocks and it REALLY paid off. Unfortunately, it also meant I was more suseptable to pinch flats. A pinch flat I got. Thankfully, I had a patch and someone to loan me a pump.

I could tell that dehydration and fatigue were really starting to hit me. It had been a very warm day and although we were right next to a river for most of the ride, it was very low humidity.

I rode down the last of the trail with a small group of people for the most part but completely ran out of water about 2 or 3 miles from the finish and was starting to get thirsty. Not fun.

I’m not certain of the exact time, but my bike computer was showing that we were on the trial for 7 hours on the dot. That’s at least 5.5 or 6 hours of actual riding time if you exclude all the breaks and stops.

I worked my way back to the campsite, eager for something cold to drink. After mixing up some Accelerade, slugging down at least 32oz of water, a serving of pre-packaged salmon, and a re-hydrated packet of spaghetti and meat sauce, I moved my hammock over to another site with Don and Kandi. They had a better spot for me to hang, it was closer to the river but no extra bugs. They were really nice and made sure I was OK and even gave me a beer. Yeah…nothing like getting the dizzying effects of dehydration, starting to feel better, then follow it up with a beer to get that same feeling. Woozy.

I ended up crashing just as it was getting dark and pretty much slept through the night. I was so tired, that I didn’t really feel like being too social with the rest of the group. I just needed water and sleep.

Sunday morning, I got up around 7:45am as the Sun was beating down on my hammock with the power of…well….the Sun.

I ate breakfast with Don, Kandi, Jason and Kate. They were discussing going for an easy ride on a nearby trail, but I decided I was going to pack up early and head East through the mountains to explore a bit of Central Oregon.

I started making my way through Three Sisters mountain range hoping to drive through the HUGE lava flows, but I was turned around and had to take a detour due to snowfall on the road. Crap. Oh well, I still stopped by some falls along the way.


I then drove through a town called “Sisters”, worked my way north and made ANOTHER detour a bit East to take a quick pit-stop at Smith Rock park.

Smith Rock is an AWESOME place to do some natural rock climbing. Someday I’ll do it, but until then I really need to train.

I snapped a picture to show that I was there and headed back home again.

Once I got into the Mt. Hood area, I noticed that I would end up driving by my work-mate’s cabin. So, I stopped and had a beer with Tim, chatted a bit about the previous day’s ride and got back on the road.

I got home around 6:30pm that evening and just about hit the floor as soon as I walked in the door.

WHAT AN AWESOME WEEKEND IT WAS!

-Tomas

I am a Eating Machine

Sometimes, I can’t believe how much I’ll eat in one day. It seems like I’m constantly stuffing something in my face, sucking down water or juice or looking for more food.

I’ve been cutting junk food out of my diet again. No more buying sodas, candy-bars or ice cream after lunch or in the evening.

Here’s what I had to eat yesterday and yet I’m still lighter this morning than yesterday morning.

1 cup oatmeal squares
10 oz chocolate milk
10 oz cranberry juice
1 medium banana
1.5 cups green grapes
1 cup vegetarian baked beans
1 small can of tuna
2 cups of various lettuce greens with 2 tblsp of ranch dressing
12 oz hot chocolate in milk
12 oz Mountain Dew Livewire
1 oz cheddar cheese
16 oz chocolate milk
20 oz Mango Banana Strawberry Smoothie
1 handful of M&M’s
64 oz plain water

I think is a bit over my 2000 kcal limit, but darn-it if I’m feeling hungry! Today is just as bad, my lunch cooler was filled to the brim and I’ve already eaten everything inside of it. I guess I’m going to have to include some bread or rice in there to act as my carbohydrate source and take up some room in my stomach.

I’ve been pretty active as of late, biking around town all the time, hiking, camping, mountain biking this past weekend, more camping and mountain biking at McKenzie River this weekend with PUMP. My Playstation 2 has been all neglected for over 2 months, but I’m not feeling sad about that. In fact, I’m feeling pretty good that I haven’t had the time to kill in front of a TV.

Pedalpalooza is going to end this weekend with the Multnomah County Bike Fair, which I decided to skip in favor of single-track riding in what some people are calling one of the best trails in the United States. Trail Link

Mountain biking has really grabbed me by the legs. I find it more “fun” than Road riding simply because I get to see nature, don’t have to run the risk of getting hit by traffic and it’s more technical riding rather than just spinning my legs and sucking fumes.

Hopefully I don’t wipe out on the lava rocks on the McKenzie River Trail and get hurt again. No broken bones so far, but one of these days…

Cheers!

-Tomas

Return of the 32-inch Waist Line

Alternate Title: Where the bloody hell has my 812.8mm stomach been for 8 years?

When I moved to Oregon of May 2005, I weighed 165lbs and had a 34-inch waist. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of exercise, eating better and cutting out the junk food that I used to eat throughout a work day.

Result: This past weekend I weighed in at 149lbs and a 32-inch stomach. To celebrate, I bought two pairs of jeans since my other two pair where over 2 years old, very baggy, and falling apart.

I can’t remember the last time I weighed 149lbs…maybe 1996?

Why is this such a big deal for me? Well, try doing a pull-up. Barely got one done? Now strap 15lbs to your waist and try again…even harder isn’t it?

I’ve been struggling with rock climbing and keeping my body weight hanging from just a couple of finger-tips. I figured that if I can lose 20lbs, it will be that much easier to climb and let me hang for much longer. So far, so good.

My daily weigh-ins are still dropping so in a couple more weeks I could be down to 145lbs.

Now, if I get to 135lbs, then I’d have to start losing muscle and my body fat percentage would be too low for me to do any serious endurance rides.

Do you think 135lbs is too light for me? How about Bruce Lee? That guy was 135lbs in Enter the Dragon. Pure muscle. BAD-ASS.BAMF = BAD ASS MUTHA FUCKER

Ok, realistically, I don’t think I can get my body fat percentage that low, I have to fond a craving for things chocolate and my weekly pizza appreciation. However, I think I may have a good shot at 140-145lbs if I really work at it, but see myself getting back up to 150lbs if I put on much more muscle mass.

We shall see.

-TQ

Miles Ridden

Can you believe that in the past 6 months, I’ve ridden my bicycle MORE miles than I have driven my car?

On January 1, my car had 48,520 miles on it. Today, it has about 50,050. If you combine the mileage from both my bicycles, I’ve ridden 1,550 miles.

This past Saturday was the first time I’ve bought gas for my car in the month of May, and I only put about a half tank full.

My goal is to have double the miles on my bicycle than driven by car.

Can I do it? You bet I will.

-Tomas

Anything Work Related

I often get asked “Tomas, why don’t you write about work?” Why? I don’t want to lose my job.

There are far too many employers out there that will fire employees due to content of their personal blogs, web pages, MySpace accounts, or even extracurricular activities that they deem “Not in line with company morals”.

I don’t think I do anything outside of “company morals” to get me fired, but I’d rather not talk about things on a PUBLICLY VIEWED SITE that might be misinterpreted and then used as ammunition should someone want to have me fired.

I work for the Port of Portland, I can tell you that much. I spend most of my days at the downtown PoP building on 2nd Ave and Everett St.. I occasionally go out to T4 or T6 for installs or repairs, then as part of a rotation schedule with the rest of my fellow help desk staff, I spend one full week at PDX (Portland International Airport).

Beyond this info, I can’t get into specifics as to where I can or can’t go or what happens behind the scenes with internal politics, infrastructure, security, or anything deemed sensitive by the TSA or DHS.

Although I’ve been working for the Port for almost a full year having started off as a contractor in June, 2005 through TekSystems, I have come to appreciate the scope of my job and what the Port means to the city of Portland, the surrounding area and the nation.

When we (The Port) received a new Post-Panamax crane in early May, it made all the local news channels across the state. Many of our engineers that were involved in getting the crane under the bridges of the Columbia River were celebrating the accomplishment the following week.

We aren’t just providing a set of products like computers, wires or car dealer training services. We are a gateway for tourists, agriculture and products.

I feel better about my job that it’s making a difference on the local, national and world economy when we do well. I don’t feel like I’m just making a small group of men lots of money, I make many people lots of money as well as getting a decent pay.

Even if things went terribly wrong with the Port of Portland and I had to seek employment elsewhere, I will never TYPE anything negative about it. I want to keep this job.

-Tomas
-only one person has ever asked me why I don’t write about work-

Of Two Wheels and Nature

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of mountain biking with a local group called “PUMP”, or “Portland United Mountain Pedalers”. I’ve done a lot of road-biking since I moved to Oregon in May, 2005 but I haven’t ridden any trails until recently.

Wow, what have I been missing?

I bought my Gary Fisher Tassajarra mountain bike in May 2004 to replace my aging and quite heavy full suspension Nishiki Blazer. The resorting to a hardtail frame lightened the bike and upgrading to disc brakes has improved braking in mud and wet weather. That was a busy summer of trail riding with the “MMBA” (Michigan Mountain Biking Association). That’s been one of my most proud purchases.

I don’t know what inspired me to get back on the trail. Maybe it was some guilt of neglecting my MTB, or maybe it was my disgust with automotive traffic, polution, and traffic management. Who knows.

What I do know know is that although it has given me more injuries than any other outdoor activity, and has made me work so hard on a bike, it’s been the most inspiring and mood lifting activity in my life in general.

Some may argue that I don’t really get to appreciate nature by cruising along trails at 12mph or faster, or that I cause more harm than good in my adventures, but I do know that MTB are also activists, nature lovers and go out of their way to help anyone in need.

I had a flat tire while riding a trail this past weekend, but I didn’t have any worries, the group of 11 riders all waited for me and several were quick to help change the tube, pump up the tire and make sure I was OK.

The night before the group ride, I was up on some very technical single-track with three other riders near a place called “Scappoose” and had a bad spill that really mashed my shoulder and left me feeling quite sore for several days. But right after my spill, the two following riders quickly checked up on me to make sure I didn’t need medical attention.

Wow…strangers making sure I’m Ok…wish I could say the same for some of my road accidents.

Back in Michigan…I was riding down a road called “Ryan” when a rather large pickup truck decided that he didn’t like me riding in the street. He had plenty of room to pass me on the left just as hundreds of other vehicles had done that day, but he wanted me off the road. Honking and reving his engine, he sped past me at full throttle and hugging the curb. He didn’t hit my bike directly, but his righthand mirror clipped my left shoulder pretty hard causing me to steer directly into a curb and endo onto the grass of someone’s lawn. I came out of it with some bruises from the fall but the odd thing was that it was witnessed by several walkers and other drivers.

Nobody asked if I was OK, nobody pulled over and said that they got the license plate of the pickup, nobody FUCKING CARED that I was just run off the road and could have been killed.

Is it any wonder that I prefer the woods to the concrete jungle and metal predators?

Even in Portland, Oregon, I still get some pretty close calls and have been in screaming matches with unruley pedestrians to either get on or off the road, but any time there’s been any conflict, I’ve had someone to back me up. Some stranger walks up and supports me…some stranger calls the cops…some stranger offers me a bicycle pump…some stranger offers to take me and my broken bike to a shop.

The mentality I see from people here is that we watch out for each other. On or off the trail. Why can’t this happen everywhere?

But if I want to take my two wheels and escape from rolling death traps, I’m then attacked by so-called “environMENTALists” that want to keep bikes off of natural paths. They claim we cause harm to the environment more so than hikers. Nevermind that any mountain bike group out there puts in countless man-hours fixing erosion that we supposedly cause, increasing safety and awareness and promote a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.

I guess I can’t win.

Do I have a point to all this? Not really, but I am going to hike and bike this weekend no matter the weather or what some eco-wack says.

Would they rather I just bought an ATV and tear up the trails by widening them, causing noise and air pollution with exhaust and waste more gas?

Ever hear one ATV drive by? The decibles are enough to cause ringing in your ears.

Every hear one hundred bicycles go by? Unless they are shouting and ringing their bells, it’s no louder than a strong wind or a choir of insects in the woods.

I’m not going to go make a lot of noise and make things worse, I’m going out to appreciate nature.

-Tomas

The happenings, 1 Year Later

Nothing to say, really.

I realize it’s been almost two full months since I’ve posted something on my blog, but I’ve really had nothing to say of any interest.

There have been some events in the past few weeks that have changed things in my life, most notably the breakup with my girlfriend. It’s got me feeling down, but I don’t really want to get into it otherwise I’ll come off as being yet another teenage brat on MySpace that can’t do anything more than talk about how depressed they are.

The apartment I live in now is on the foot of Mt. Tabor, an extint volcano that’s right in Portland. Rent isn’t too much at all, and it’s cozy enough for me that I’m not embarassed to live there unlike the apartment that was part of “Old Utica Base”, MI. I have most of the things I need, but could still use a sofa and kitchen table. Nothing fancy, just the basics. Oh, and a vacuum cleaner.

I’ve been meaning to post some pictures of my place, the surrounding area and of Portland in general, but I’ve discovered that my 3 year-old digital camera has gone the way of the typical consumer electronics device and DIED. It must have gotten wet or dropped too many times. I put batteries in, open the lens cover and nothing happens. No beeps, no moving lenses, nothing. Even Best Buy says it’s now out of their extended warranty coverage. Bullocks. That’s why I don’t normally buy that “Extended” shit. Never get to use it, therefore, 100% profit for Best Buy execs.

My car is running OK…whenever it runs…it’s actually been a full month since I’ve had to fill the gas tank. I guess that happens when I bike, bus or take the MAX to work and grocery shopping. It’s still just under half a tank which should take me to the end of May but since I plan on a couple of Mountain Biking and Hiking trips, $3.29 a gallon: here I come.

Biking: yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of biking…not as much as I had planned due to various reasons, but in the past two weeks, I’ve now put on 300 miles between my two aluminum steads.

My Trek 1000 road bike has seen the most action therefore has had the most parts replaced, most recently has been the tires have been upgrade from cheapo $15 Continental Sport tires to $35 Specialized Armadillo puncture proof armored tires since I’m sick of flats on my way to work. In fact, the only parts on my roadie that haven’t been changed are the brake handles, handlebars, stem and cranks. Soon, I will have to replace the wheels since both hubs are starting to grind with grit and get bent out of shape from curbs, potholes, sewer grates and large rocks…there goes another $200.

The Gary Fisher Tassajara mountain bike is doing much better overall since it doesn’t have a tenth of the miles as the roadie, but it does see it’s fair share of very rough trails and mud. The pedals have been replaced due to excessive mud buildup that screwed the bearings, also there was something about those Shimano pedals that always made it difficult to clip out no matter how I adjusted the spring tension. Crank Bros Eggbeaters are my new spinning partners.

I’ve tried Track racing on a fixed gear bike a few weeks ago. That was fun and exhilerating. Nothing like pedaling at 25mph on a bike that doesn’t have brakes or a freewheel. I also did some volunteer maintenance work on the Alpenrose Velodrome, hanging signs, painting, sweeping, patching the track. Fun times.

Lately, in an effort to meet more people that are into cycling, I’ve been meeting with the Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP). I’ve ridden with them at Forest Park just outside from downtown, Scappoose, Lacamas park and Mt. Tabor. Interesting characters that bunch, although I find it odd that there are 4 others in the group that have moved here from Michigan. Common theme? To get away from the auto industry and be closer to nature. Interesting.

Working for the Port of Portland has been Ok. The job isn’t very stressful at all, it’s in a nice area and has nice benefits. The only part that feels weird is being on-call every 4 weeks or taking a week to man the helpdesk at the airport (PDX).

I’ve some interesting friends out here…people into gaming, cycling, hiking, kinky stuff, movies, climbing, paintball, environmentalists, swinging, dancers, swingers, bisexuals, homosexuals, painting and saving the world. What does this all mean? I have no idea.

Tonight I ride Forest Park with PUMP as a weekly event. Thursday, I can take a class at Alpenrose and learn how to track race or head up to Alberta Park in North Portland (NoPo) and participate in Bike Polo, Friday is the Night ride at Scappoose. Saturday and Sunday have mountain bike races in Southern Oregon.

It’s one hell of a bike scene here for the next three months or so…until the beginning of September, there is some kind of race, ride or bike related event somewhere in Portland in the surrounding area.

I still don’t have all my own hiking/camping gear and I’m thinking of taking a bike-camping trip down to Champogee state park and spending a weekend away from technology and the city.

I’ve been reading up on Ultra-light backpacking…only carrying the bare minimums for survival. How fun would that be to strap 25lbs of gear to my mountain bike, ride a trail for a couple of hours to a remote camp site and spend an evening or two under stars with just a sleeping bag. I just need a GOOD sleeping bag, a mosquito netting and some other small essentials and I’m ready for a weekend of nature absorbtion.

Looks like I might be able to attempt a summit of Mt. St. Helens this year…rumor has it that the park management may open her up to hikers this summer…we’ll see.

I haven’t been rock climbing as much as I thought I would…but only because I’ve been so busy with so many other activities and a slight lack of motivation since I don’t have a climbing partner of roughly the same ability.

Drawing is done here and there, but it’s nothing that I care to share with the world right now.

I’ve been slowly collecting the gear I need to go backpacking/camping. In fact, I think I now have everything I need and will try to go somewhere this holiday weekend.

That’s it for now!

-Tomas

The March 101

March 19, 2006. Matt called me last week to see if I wanted to ride my bike with him for 100 miles. Who am I to say no? Ever since I moved into my apartment, my daily mileage has dropped from 22 miles per day to only 10. Not good if I want to break 10,000 miles before the end of the year. I’ve only logged 844 miles so far. Eesh.

We started at 7:30am at Champoeg state park just North of Salem, OR. It was mostly country roads for the first 20-30 miles with hardly any traffic at all. Then we rode into Salem and stopped at a bike shop for a quick adjustment to my cranks that didn’t help at all. We stopped at a place called “The Best Little Roadhouse” that was quite good.

We turned around to head back to the car in Independence just southwest of Salem and made it into the park by 7pm.

Overall, it wasn’t too hard a ride at all, the weather was really nice but a bit on the chilly side for me.

I can’t wait to do another 100-miler!

Current Mileage: 954

-TQ

The Cost of Bicycling

I wrote in an earlier post that my Trek 1000 is now 5 years old. I love this bike. Actually, I love both my bikes. I’ve ridden this bike about 15,000 miles since I bought it, and that’s a conservative estimate. 15,000 miles of training, fun rides, commuting and now racing. However, mileage this high is not without it’s wear and tear on the hardware.

Since I’ve owned this bike, I’ve replaced the following items due to wear or unexpected damage.

Tire Tubes = At least 25 ($4 each)
Tires = 7 ($10-$25 each)
Wheels = 3 (~$80)
Handlebar Tape = 6 ($4 each)
Brake Pads = 8 (4 sets, $12 a set)
Brake Calipers = 2 ($30 each)
Saddles = 1 ($55)
Rear Cassettes = 2 ($30 each)
Crank Arms = 1 ($15)
Spokes = 1 ($1)
Reflectors = 3 ($2 each)
Bike Computers = 2 ($20 each)

All these components aren’t too expensive on their own, but over time they are adding up to cost more than what I’ve paid for the bike.

It has also come to my attention that soon, I will have to replace the following parts or have them over-hauled.

Headset $30 (rust & sand)
Bottom Bracket $50 (contaminated bearings?)
Rear Derailer $45 (bent)
Brake Cables & Housing $10 (worn housing, slight rust)
Derailer Cables and Housing $10 (worn & damaged housing, rust)
Front Hub $0~$70(contamination)
Rear Hub $0~$80 (wear, contamination)
Wheel Truing $0~$? (wear, damage)
Crankset with Chainrings $150

It’s still quite ridable, but if I want to keep it riding, these parts need to be addressed. If I ever somehow crack the frame, then it will be time to retire that bike.

However, even after all these costs, it’s still much cheaper than paying for anything on my car. Guess it’s quite the financial incentive to keep riding rather than drive.